By Michael Neibauer – June 14, 2016
For roughly five decades, the U.S. Postal Service facility at 2135 Fifth St. NE in Eckington was the only equipment shop for the entire postal system, manufacturing millions of mailbags and hundreds of thousands of postal locks every year.
Last week, the Postal Service sold the 79,380-square-foot historic building, located on a 2.5-acre lot, for $12.25 million. And while its location less than a 3-minute walk to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station seems tailor made for a mixed-use project, all signs point to an industrial use remaining there for years to come.
…Amerco representatives did not return requests for comment, but we are told by officials familiar with the deal that the likely use of 2135 Fifth is self-storage, with U-Haul truck parking on the surrounding lot. At the very least, Amerco is expected to pursue a by-right use. The site is zoned for medium-density commercial and production, distribution and repair uses….
According to the historic nomination form, the employees at 2135 Fifth adopted new methods of streamlining production, designed and patented various pieces of postal equipment, cleaned and repaired postal equipment, and manufactured mail bags, containers, locks, keys, chains, tools and machinery. During the 1930s, it was producing 1.5 million mail sacks and 800,000 locks annually.
By the early 1950s, just before the USPS expanded shop work to other major urban hubs, employment at the facility peaked at 517. Still, it continued to operate until at least 2002.
Brian Murphy and Shannon Murphy, both of CBRE, brokered the deal on behalf of the USPS. According to their listing, the property includes five loading docks, two freight elevators, each with 8,000-pound capacity, and 150 parking spaces.
CBRE Sales Flyer from September 2015
Source: Washington Business Journal